Last year, pop star Rihanna (full name: Robyn Rihanna Fenty) filed a federal trademark application to protect ROBYN for “providing on-line non-downloadable general feature magazines.” The application sailed through prosecution before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and the PTO published the mark for opposition in November 2014.
After requesting additional time to oppose, DC Comics finally filed an opposition last month before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. The opposition claims a likelihood of confusion with Batman’s sidekick Robin, the subject of two trademark registrations cited in the Opposition:
- ROBIN, U.S. Reg. No. 1,930,901, for “comic books” in International Class 16, and
- ROBIN, U.S. Reg. No. 1,294,617, for “a Toy Doll Figure Representation of a Cartoon Character” in International Class 28.
DC claims that Rihanna’s ROBYN mark is “likely to cause confusion, cause mistake, or to deceive the public into the false belief that the goods offered by [Rihanna] under [Rihanna]’s Mark come from or are otherwise sponsored by or connected with [DC], in violation of Section 2(d) of the Lanham Act . . . .”
The marks are certainly similar (ROBYN v. ROBIN), however similarity between the marks is not the only factor in determining “likelihood of confusion.” Other factors include the similarity or dissimilarity and nature of the goods, their trade channels, and the fame of the prior mark.
Rihanna had to answer the proceeding by June 20th. We’ll keep you posted.